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A German court has convicted a Chinese agent for spying on practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual practice. John Zhou was given a two-year suspended sentence on June 8, plus a hefty fine. Prosecutors say Zhou had been supplying information to Mainland Chinese authorities tasked with persecuting members of Falun Gong.
After several years of investigations, a German court has found a Chinese man guilty of spying on local residents for the Chinese regime. On June 8, the Niedersachsen State Supreme Court in the German city of Celle gave John Zhou a two-year suspended sentence for spying on Falun Gong practitioners. The spiritual discipline Falun Gong is practiced around the world freely, but is persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party.
Zhou's conviction was a shock for local Falun Gong practitioners. He was one of the earliest adoptees of the practice in Germany in the late 1990s. Prosecutors say he began working with Chinese agents in 2005, when he tried to visit his sick father in China. Court documents show he met with the head of Chinese Embassy Consular in Berlin and expressed a willingness to help the Communist regime to "solve the Falun Gong problem".
In March 2006, Zhou was introduced to agents from the Chinese regime's 610 Office—an extra-judiciary, Gestapo-style agency tasked with the persecution of Falun Gong. Prosecutors say Zhou reported directly to a high-ranking official Chen Bin, and gave him access in Shanghai to private correspondents of German Falun Gong practitioners.
Court documents show Germany's counterintelligence authorities had given Zhou multiple warnings that he was under suspicion for spying. Prosecutors brought him to trial on May 16. His conviction and sentence also came with a hefty $21,000 U.S. dollar fine.